post written by: Marc Chernoff

8 Reasons to Stop Waiting for Approval


8 Reasons to Stop Waiting for Approval

One of the greatest freedoms is simply not caring what everyone else thinks of you.  Sometimes you need to step outside, get some air, and remind yourself of who you are and what you want to be.  The best thing you can do is follow your heart.  Take risks.  Don’t just accept the safe and easy choices because you’re afraid of what others will think, or afraid of what might happen.  If you do, nothing will ever happen.  Don’t let small minds convince you that your dreams are too big.  They aren’t.

Starting today, stop waiting for approval.  Here’s why:

  1. You only get one life to pursue the dreams that make you come alive. – It is better to be failing (and learning) at doing something you love, rather than succeeding at doing something you hate.  So take chances on behalf of what you believe in.  Fail until you succeed.  Make sacrifices and step out beyond the safety of your comfort zone over and over again.  Face your fears with courage and passion.  Keep your word and hold true to your vision until it comes to life.  Read Quitter.
  2. Someone else’s approval is just another opinion. – Never let someone’s opinion become your reality.  Never sacrifice who you are, or who you aspire to be, because someone else has a problem with it.  Love who you are inside and out, and keep pushing forward.  No one else has the power to make you feel small unless you give them that power.  You are the only one who can create your dreams and happiness.
  3. The only opinion of you that really matters is your own. – In life, the thing that is really hard and really amazing is giving up on the desire to be perfect in the eyes of others, and beginning the journey of becoming your true self.  So let your love flow freely.  Because what you love determines your dreams, your dreams determine your actions, and your actions determine your destiny.
  4. Some people will never give you their approval anyway. – Do not let the negative opinions of others destroy your inner peace.  There are two kinds of people – those who are a drain on your energy and creative force, and those who give you energy and support your creativity, even with the simplest gesture, like a smile.  Avoid the first kind.  Be happy.  Be who you want to be.  If others don’t like it, let them be.  Happiness is a choice – YOUR choice.  Life isn’t about pleasing everyone.  Read The How of Happiness.
  5. Everyone’s journey and perspective on life is totally different. – Who you are is what makes you extraordinary.  Do not change your unique foundation for anyone.  What lies ahead will always be a bit of a mystery.  Do not be afraid to explore, learn and grow.  Why some things happen will never be certain.  Take it in stride and move forward.  When life pushes you over, stand up and push back even harder.  Where there is a fork in the road and choices to make, make the one your future self will thank you for.
  6. Firsthand experience is often necessary for personal growth. – Some life lessons can only be understood by going through them on your own.  Doing so allows you to form your own conclusions based on firsthand experience, rather than someone else’s subjective opinion.  This experience gives you the ability to think more logically and take educated steps in a positive direction.  Read As a Man Thinketh.
  7. Your intuition requires no approval. – When it comes to exercising your inner genius, you must try what you want to try, go where you want to go, and follow your own intuition.  Don’t accept false choices.  Don’t let others put a cage around your ideas. If it feels right, take a chance.  Because you never know how absolutely perfect it could turn out to be.  As Steve Jobs once said, “Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice, heart and intuition.  They somehow already know what you truly want to become.  Everything else is secondary.”
  8. Life is too short to wait any longer. – If you knew for certain you had a terminal illness – if you had a very limited time left to live – you wouldn’t waste a minute of it.  Well wake up!  You do have a terminal illness; it’s called ‘life.’  In the grand scheme of things, you don’t have much time left – no one does.  So look around at this gift you’ve been given, as its miracles unfold before your eyes.  And choose to be happy, without approval – or you will never be at all.

And I will leave you with a quote to think about.  It comes from our article 10 Enemies of Personal Greatness: “As long as you are worried about what others think of you, you are owned by them.  Only when you require no approval from outside yourself can you truly own yourself.”

Photo by: Patrick Smith

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32 Comments

  • Yes, yes, yes! This has come at the right time. I find that when I ask for advice, people will instead try to make me change my opinion to be more similar to theirs. NO! My life and my choices are my own.

  • I love picking out my favorite bullet point from each of your articles. Today that bullet point is #8. The shortness and fragility of life was unfortunately on display in Aurora, CO in the past week. Life can change in the blink of an eye, which is why we must appreciate the time we have right now.

  • Gosh, I agree with JJ. For me the last two ( 7 and 8 ) go flawlessly together. Life is too short not to follow your intuition and heart.

    Thanks for another thoughtful read. And let us pray for those Aurora victims.

  • I love you guys!
    Thank you from the bottom of this ~getting happier~ heart!

  • Yeah! This post is awesome : ) The last one tells everything that you should live for: to be happy : )

  • That closing quote is really something. I lived most of my life letting others determine who I was. It made life unnecessarily difficult. But what is even more difficult is facing who you are and how far you’re from where you want to be. But we must be awake to start living that one life before it’s gone. It’s never too late to get crackin. Who will stop us? Only ourselves.

  • I enjoyed this one. A bit more sternly written than some of your regular writing, yet effective. Yes, as long as you do so with kindness and respect, it is OK to do what is right for YOU.

  • What a gift this is today! Numbers 4, 5 and 8 speak loudly to me. Thank you for always knowing the right thing to say. You guys are the best therapy any one could have. Many blessings to you.

  • Taken as a side note, this is inspiring, but I think you missed the part where you need to decide the base goodness or rightness of your action. One sided self interest by itself can easily lead to isolation. The guy who did the shooting in Colorado would likely agree with each and every word of this article. Dissolving our obligation to live together in society is the last thing this society needs in my humble opinion. There needs to be a base of good will. Your articles are usually really inspiring guys, but this one slightly misses the mark for me. Thank you for all of your other inspiring work though. I hope you have a great day.

  • I absolutley love this post so many good points and great reminders. I shared it on my personal page and my blog page

  • Yes, firsthand experience is necessary for personal growth. Learning from books and school is great but there is no substitute for getting out and actually achieving something.

  • The bottom line here is that you must trust your gut. Seriously, it knows something.

  • You guys are a blessings. I follow every step of your articles ever since l subscribed and l have never regretted it. I have been a victim of many of these points where l couldnt do anything without seeking approval from friends, family etc… now l know better! Thanks for the extra inspiration I needed.

  • As an inspirational piece and a guide, I think this is great.

    But as a life philosophy taken literally in every sense, I think it makes less sense.

    We are social creatures - the opinions of others are the only things that matter. To suggest the opposite is some sort of Buddhist non-attachment. Our opinions of ourselves are born from those parts of our culture and society we identify with (both of which are social constructs).

    I think it’s a question of ignoring certain groups of social opinion (e.g. your local, small minded folk) or certain parts of their beliefs (you’re glad your friends think you’re kind and beautiful, but ignore their pessimism about your new business), not ignoring all together.

  • Magnificent reminder of the reality that we must be who we really all are! Thank you!

  • @Amit and Daniel: No doubt, words and ideas can always be twisted and interpreted the wrong way. Our goal for this article was to simply empower people to follow their own path and values, without waiting around for everyone else to say it’s OK. But in hindsight, I somewhat agree with you. In the intro I should have prefaced the article with a statement explaining that these ideas must be practiced from a foundation of love, honesty, and respect for both ourselves and others.

    @Everyone else: Thank you again for the kind remarks and for keeping the conversation going. Keep them coming. We love to hear your thoughts.

  • Another great post - thanks. It can be so challenging to be brave, keep your chin up and keep going: especially when pursuing a dream or life’s ambition that is different to everyone else around you. Your post is a good reminder to trust your inner compas and pursue your dreams (even if it mean failure before success).

    I love the Steve Jobs quote: “Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice, heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” This is so true and a good thought to keep close to the heart.

  • Good read. If you have an agenda for someone - if you want them to do or act a certain way for you - the words you use would be intended for the purpose of you getting that person to do what you wanted. To live the truth, you have to give up your agenda for other people, let them come to you as they are and you go to them as you are.

  • That last quote is really something. I spent mot of my life letting others determine what I did, fooling myself. This made life both easy, because any small choices were small, but more difficult in your heart. What’s even more difficult is waking up, though. And seeing who you really are and how far you’re from what you want to be. It’s never too late to start crackin on that one life we have left to do everything it is we want.

  • I am a faithful follower and supporter of your blog. Your words of advice and encouragement and little pearls of wisdom always speak to my soul and i am excited to see new posts! Thank you!

  • Yes, I so agree with this list, and so so agree with number 5.

  • Here’a a couple of quotes on approval :

    People who want the most approval get the least and people who need approval the least get the most.
    Wayne Dyer

    Do not look for approval except for the consciousness of doing your best.
    Andrew Carnegie

    A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.
    Mark Twain

    Loved this post! Thanks

  • The intro and the last two in the list have been printed out and put on my bulletin board. =)

  • Yeah, it’s time to stop waiting and START DOING what I know I need to do, for ME and my goals.

  • It is the following my own intuition that is leading me forward and teaching me to stop listening to others. I have come to realized that people I thought knew me well, do not know me at all. Maybe that is partly my fault for not fully showing who I am, but that has changed. I will be me, and if that means leaving people behind as I march my path - so be it. I need to follow my path, regardless of others opinions.

  • Thank you thank you thank you! I just had a conversation with a dear friend a few days ago about letting go of the need for approval. Then this pops up, and I do not believe in coincidences! I will be passing this on for sure. Keep doing what you’re doing!

  • Very nice Marc. If we are to be happy we must be true to ourselves. While being open to advice is important, it s far more important to carve out our own path, claim our power and be responsible for our own happiness and success.

  • Excellent points!

  • Literally stumbled upon this site through StumbleUpon. Glad I did.

    I normally think of myself as quite a pessimist. Most positive thinking and inspirational words tend to bounce right off of me.

    For some reason the words of number 1 in this post (I’ll paraphrase)–”It’s better to be a failure doing what you love than a success doing what you hate.”– instantly spoke to me. And when I say spoke, it practically punched me in the solar plexus, knocked the wind right out of me.

    Like the bullet from a laser sight, those words had my name on them, as though I were their single and specific target. I know I’ll find a way to pepper this bit of wisdom into my conversation–with proper credit to your site of course.

    As a recently launched blogger, yours is the kind of site I would love pointing my readers to.

    Thank you. I feel better exiting than I did coming and I’m sure I’ll return frequently.

  • Much of this one resonated deeply with me. I constantly find myself waiting for approval to follow my heart.

  • Patricia Rezzonico
    August 4th, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    As a two-time cancer survivor, your website and daily messages always hit home with me. You have given me inspiration, strength, common sense advice and always a positive reinforcement to each day’s challenges. Thank you.

  • This post is really inspiring and lately, some people have been very discouraging and told me already that I will not succeed. I was thinking how I needed people to believe in me but reading that post makes me think that I should not let their words matter to me unless I decide that they do. Thank you again :)

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